One of the things that all the 12-steps have in common is the need for a support system and the power of other people in the process of recovery. If you’re not getting that you may want to consider getting a recovery coach to help you through it all.  Recovery coaches are not therapists and don’t focus on how you got where you are or why you got where you are to prevent you from doing it again, they focus on helping you move forward.

Last week I took the opportunity to speak with Mr. Mike Reis of Reis coaching,  Mike decided to become a coach after his own battle with Alcoholism and has also launched a public speaking career as it relates to recovery and how coaching can help.

Mike says, “The goal of recovery is not just to stop engaging in the addiction, the goal is to have a great life after it. I discovered that after I stopped drinking and I was miserable, the only thing that I had changed in my life was that I stopped drinking. It takes more than just stopping to recover. Stopping is the easy part.”

Roughly 28 million people in the U.S. Struggle with some kind of addiction issue and many of them are unaware that a coach can be of assistance to them. People think life coaches are simply babysitters to the rich and famous or they don’t fully understand what the benefits can be of having their own coach.

If you or a loved on are struggling with addiction issues therapy can be helpful and definitely has a place, but consider also coaching. Mike works with those that are in the throws of addiction and want to stop, those that have stopped and just need a little help from a cheerleader who has been there before, and also he works with family members.

Family members and relationships can be impacted in a major way when someone is addicted and Mike gives support to family members who need it as well.  When one is dealing with someone struggling with an addiction people tend to give a lot of opinions as to what “you should” do or what you “need to do” Mike helps people decide for themselves what they “need” or “should” do and then helps them move forward in their plan to do so.

In addition to his coaching practice Mike Reis leads workshops along with son Chris Yes, former NFL player Chris Reis) he leads workshops on how to overcome the devestating effect that addiction has on relationships /life in addition to his coaching practice. To book Mike to speak at your organization or to  see if coaching is right for you please visit his website

In May 2013 the American Psychological Association’s Diagnostic and Statistical Manual (DSM) will be published in its 5th edition (DSM-V).

The proposed changes to the addiction criteria have created a firestorm over concerns that the entire population will now be labeled as addicts.

The DSM functions as the “go to” book for diagnosis of mental health disorders and contains in its pages the criteria for such diagnoses. Addiction has for quite a long time had conflict over how it should be diagnosed, but now in the DSM-V there will be new categories such as “behavioral addiction undefined” and “binge eating disorder” as well as “hypersexuality”…who is to define what something like hypersexuality is? Disorders are generally defined as maladaptive behavior that interfere with your life, does this change with these new categories?

Addiction could be defined as anything one does too much of that causes a problem things like working too much could fall into this category.

What is interesting is that there is debate about including internet addiction, since any habit can become excessive, compulsive, and/or life threatening the question
becomes where is the line for diagnosis? It seems a little too subjective for comfort.

Substance related addictions will now be in a separate category, called “addiction and related disorders” with each drug given its own category. Issues can arise here because someone who binge drinks in college once and then decides it is not for them could be considered an addict under this.

Now of course these changes are only proposed and there is still a lot of debate going on about what will be included in the DSM-V, but these are very scary times for both clinicians and the general population..if you are already struggling with an addiction you know how difficult it can be.

People will be able to use their insurance coverage with more flexibility if these changes take effect, but they will also be faced with dealing with misdiagnosis in some cases, for example the disorder diagnosis of hyper-sexuality, who is to define what that is.

Maybe some people just want sex more than others, maybe someone has the time to have a lot of sex without creating havoc in their lives…who is protecting the population from misdiagnosis by clinicians looking to make a buck?

All of these issues need to be examined before the new edition gets released. I will keep watch over this issue and perhaps write about it again in the future.

In review the 12 Steps covered in previous articles:

  1. Admitted we were powerless over our addiction and that our lives became unmanageable.
  2. Come to believe that a power greater than ourselves can restore us to sanity.
  3. Made a decision to turn our lives over to the care of that power (God as we understand God).
  4. Made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves.
  5. 5.    Admitted to God, to ourselves, and to another human being the exact nature of our wrongs.

This 5th Step, like all the steps can be very difficult for people. It involves being vulnerable and honest like the 4th one does, and involves trusting other people and for addicts this can be a daunting task.

At AA meetings and other support groups like it, one is given a sponsor. This is true whether or not you are the addict or a member of Al-Anon. Sponsors have completed the 12 steps at least 1 time and are there to assist you in completing your program.  They are also there to work their own program like everyone else, and you should be as well.

Sponsors are not substitutes for therapist though and often addiction has very painful and complicated issues that need to be addressed.  Sponsors can help as someone who has been there and done that, and so can some therapists and even coaches.

Admitting to God, yourself, and another human being the exact nature of your wrongs can be difficult for many reasons, chief among them the brutal honesty is difficult for people. God is the least difficult, because even if you define the word as Group of Drunks you can have the freedom in choosing a different group of drunks next time.

Admitting to yourself is difficult because you live with yourself day in and day out and often times wrongs are in conflict with our internal value system, or what we believe our value system should be. Several addicts tell me that the internal value system can often times be the wrong or the source of it (that’s an entire article on belief systems however).

This brings us back around to finding another human being to admit this to. Someone who is non-judgmental and won’t tell the entire world about you, a good therapist.  One of the best ways to find these people is to ask your sponsor who they recommend.  Admitting these things to your sponsor is also helpful, but again the sponsor is no substitute for treatment.

Next week we will examine the DSM-V changes to the addiction criteria which could result in all of us being labeled addicts.

Searching Inventory of Oneself

May 29, 2012

“Made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves” Step 4 is a pivotal step and one of the most difficult steps for people to complete.  Once one admits to be powerless over the addiction, comes to believe there is a higher power that can restore one to sanity, and decides to turn their life [...]

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Turning Your Life Over to God

May 22, 2012

This step takes a lot of effort for some people that don’t believe in a supreme being, but it doesn’t need to. All this step says is that one has turned over their life to the bigger power mentioned in step 2. For those that don’t remember the first two realizing that one is powerless [...]

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Overcoming the Addiction for Internet Porn

May 15, 2012

Internet porn addiction is extremely destructive to marriages and other familial relationships. Every second in the United States $3,075.64 is spent on pornography online and 28,258 Internet users are viewing porn. If one uses the third statistic I found that 10% of those that become involved with porn become addicted, every second in this country [...]

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Nature or Nurture?

May 8, 2012

For years people have asked this question.  Many times this is asked as it relates to negative behaviors such as addictions. Hardly ever does someone ask if a child is a straight “A” student due to nature or nurture, it is just assumed that the child takes after their “good parents” who make sure they [...]

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Step 2: Identifying Your Beliefs

April 30, 2012

Step 2 in the 12 step model is “Came to believe a power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.” Many people believe that this means only someone who believes in God can benefit from a 12 step program, but this power greater than self can be even a “Group Of Drunks” (God) in [...]

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Step 1: Admitting You Are Addicted

April 23, 2012

Almost everyone is familiar with the 12-Step model of recovery programs that began with Alcoholics Anonymous, in fact today nearly everything has a 12-Step program built around it. In the most general terms the first step is for the person who is addicted to admit that his/her life has become unmanageable and that they became [...]

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How do I find Suboxone doctors in my area?

December 5, 2011

If you are currently struggling with a drug addiction, there are several places that you can find Suboxone doctors that will be able to provide medication to help you treat it. Here are a couple resources below that will help you find doctors in your area: SAMHSA Suboxone Doctors Directory All of these [...]

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